New Testament Survey O-I-A Gospels/Acts Throughout the book of Mark, several themes are found to be present which address the legitimacy of Jesus. Multiple times Jesus’ actions prove He is who He says He is, although through His attempts to hide His identity from the public, people still are in disbelief about His identity. The periscope of the Sabbath helps to explain this. The periscope on the Sabbath according to Mark is found in Mark chapter 2 verses 23 through 28: 23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 4 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath? ” 25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions. ”27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath. ”
My own understanding of this periscope is reworded like this: 23 One day on the Sabbath, Jesus was walking amongst His disciples through a field of gain. As they made their way, the disciples began to pick the heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees confronted Jesus and questioned Him as to why the disciples were breaking the law of Sabbath rest. 25 Jesus replied, “Do you know what David and his friends did when they were hungry? 26 Let me tell you, they entered the House of God during the days of Abiathar the high priest and ate the holy bread in front of Abiathar himself!
You all know that the holy bread is only able to be eaten by the priests themselves! ” 27 Jesus told the Pharisees, “I am the Son of Man. The Sabbath was made for man. ” 28 Therefore the Son of Man is even Lord over the Sabbath. Multiple observations are obvious throughout the passage. To begin with, it is mentioned several times how the setting of the story is occurring on the Sabbath, which is a day of rest. It is mentioned how Jesus and the disciples are present in the grainfields and the Pharisees are there with them.
The Pharisees end up questioning Jesus about the disciples’ actions. Jesus defends them with an allusion of David in the time of Abiathar. There are countless numbers of interpretations that can be made throughout this short passage. These deal with the actions of the disciples, Jesus’ confrontation by the Pharisees, Jesus’ allusion to David’s actions in the time frame noted and the meaning behind the consecrated bread. The disciples’ action of picking heads of grain was completely lawful, even though the Pharisees challenged it (Lane 114).
In that time, people followed the Mosaic Law which stated, “when you come into your neighbor’s standing grain, then you may pluck it with your hands, but you shall not bring a sickle to you neighbors standing grain” which is found in Deuteronomy chapter 23 verse 25. The only grounds that the Pharisees had to challenge the disciples were because it occurred on the Sabbath (Lane 115). Their actions could be seen as reaping which was prohibited on the Sabbath by the Mosaic Law in Exodus chapter 34 verse 21. This violates the Sabbath because it is considered work.
It was also noticed how the Pharisees question Jesus about the Disciples’ actions instead of question them personally. When someone was considered a “teacher” it meant that they were responsible for those under them, so Jesus was responsible for the disciples (Keener 142). This is the reasoning Pharisees specifically questioned Jesus directly. It was done in order to satisfy the legal requirement of a warning prior to the prosecution for Sabbath violation (Lane 115). It is also important to understand Jesus’ allusion to I Samuel chapter 21 verses 1 through 6. 1 David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest.
Ahimelek trembled when he met him, and asked, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you? ” 2 David answered Ahimelek the priest, “The king sent me on a mission and said to me, ‘No one is to know anything about the mission I am sending you on. ’ As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place. 3 Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find. ” 4 But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here—provided the men have kept themselves from women. 5 David replied, “Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever I set out. The men’s bodies are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today! ” 6 So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the Lord and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away. According to Cole, Abiathar was Ahimelek’s son who survived the priestly slaying at Nob in I Samuel chapter 22 (129).
Abiathar served as high priest and was better known in association with David than his father, so this is known as a common error could have entered tradition before it became known to Mark (Lane 115). Another interesting thing about the David reference is Jesus’ summary of the consecrated bread. He mentions in Mark chapter 2 verse 26 how David and his men ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. It is interesting to compare both passages when is mentions the restrictions of who is eligible to eat the bread.
In I Samuel chapter 21 verses 4 through 6, it is mention that the requirement is for men to have kept themselves from women. One interesting question that Lane brings to light is the actual connection between what is happening in the grain fields and the reference that Jesus makes in light of the situation (116). The incident in the grain fields specifically deals with the Sabbath while the allusion that Jesus makes, highlights the fact that God does not condemn David for his actions. This shows how the Pharisees interpretation of the Law was not in accordance with the scripture (117).
This can be applied to the biblical understanding of the Pharisees and others in that time period. Many people misinterpreted the text and often even twisted them to have a meaning that applied to their situation. The most important thing that I learned from this scripture is the importance of understanding the background information behind the scripture. I must admit that in this case, I would be no different that a Pharisee. Although I have read this passage and heard it referenced multiple times, I have never fully understood Jesus’ allusion within the text and how it applies to the situation at hand.
I am constantly guilty of skimming over text or not reading it on a level deep enough to fully understand the message behind the words. This has been a lesson in itself. Works Cited Page Cole, R Alan. The Gospel According to Mark. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdman, 1989. Print. The Holy Bible New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984. Print Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1993. Print Lane, William L. The Gospel According to Mark. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdman, 1974. Print.
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